Breaking the climate-poverty nexus
Over 2 billion people which is one third of the global population – are poor or near-poor who face persistent threats to their livelihoods, including from climate change. UNDP 2018 report estimates indicate that by 2030 more than 100 million people could fall back into extreme poverty due to climate change, while over 200 million people could be displaced due to more frequent and severe climatic disasters.
Bangladesh is no exception as it is ranks 7th amongst the top 10 countries of the world impacted by climate change. UNDP 2018 report also mentions that more than 12 million people still live in poverty in the coastal regions of Bangladesh and many already impoverished people then must cope with the additional stress of climate impacts. This subsequently helps the poverty cycle stay in effect, highlighting a clear link between climate change and poverty in Bangladesh.
Along the coasts of the Bay of Bengal, Barguna district is one of the most climate vulnerable districts of Bangladesh- a highly natural disaster-prone area. Being located on the coastal south of Bangladesh, this area is exposed to constant climate hazards such as cyclones, tidal surges, salinity intrusion, and more.
Anamika is sowing the seed of resilience
Anamika, a resident of Noltona Union of Barguna Sadar Upazila of Barguna District, has been struggling for long to get a stable income source.
“Each time we took one step forward, we got pushed back by ten steps due to climate change calamities. The storm submerged us completely, along with our livelihoods,” said Anamika.
Frequently impacted by climate change, Barguna is the third poverty-prone district in the country. Paddy cultivation and fishing are the prime sources of income for the climate vulnerable people residing in the area. Because of increasing salinity intrusion in water and soil, Boro Rice production and vegetable cultivation have very few prospects in Barguna. Livelihood diversification is an essential component in developing climate resilience. However, most climate vulnerable communities lack the knowledge, technology, capacity, and additional financing to test innovative alternatives to expand their livelihood options.
“We cannot afford to take risks in agriculture, so we stick to our traditional methods. We are already in neck deep crisis as we try to push through the climate adversities to make a living.” says Anamika.
To ensure that women like Anamika can break out of this poverty and climate change nexus LoGIC is supporting to build resilience against climate change impacts by enabling them to undertake local-led climate adaptation livelihoods by providing a Community Resilience Fund (CRF). It is a joint initiative between the Government of Bangladesh, European Union, Sweden, and United Nations Capital Development Fund and United Nations Development Program.
A survey undertaken by LoGIC profiled the most vulnerable and poor women in the climate hazardous coastal Barguna Sadar Upazila, where Anamika was enlisted along with others. A Community Resilience Grant of USD $340 was provided to Anamika and each member as direct support to invest and undertake climate adaptive livelihood opportunities which is conducive to the climate vulnerability of the area. Anamika was grouped with 13 other women members who accumulated their finances to develop a unified business model around watermelon cultivation which was favorable to the salinity prone area. The project also established a co-financing mechanism where each group member like Anamika paid USD $58 from their own funding as a part of the cultivation scheme to ensure strong ownership and sustainability.
“We received training and other support from local government authorities, agricultural officers, and LoGIC project staff. We learnt about adapting a favorable climate adaptive business model, land leasing, banking.” said Anamika.
Not only did LoGIC engage the authorities in supervision, but the project also ensured beneficiaries like Anamika had access to financial inclusion and market linkages. After a successful 3 months of cultivation, she had a good yield and her turnover was good enough to reinvest in other climate adaptive livelihoods, after contributing well to the family needs.
“Our group has made a good profit in watermelon cultivation. I was able to support my family’s needs with this income. Moreover, with the extra money I bought 20 ducklings, and after a year of raising them, I sold them at a profit price of Taka 16 thousand. I was able to finally break out of this nexus of climate induced poverty”, said Anamika.
“We connected with the market and sold watermelon at more than double profit which I could never even imagine before. Our next step is to work in groups to develop a unified business plan to invest this profit into other climate adaptive livelihood options,” said Anamika.
This is big news for Anamika- this is her very first step to breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty induced by climate change. LoGIC is sowing the seeds of resilience for women like Anamika, by mainstreaming and disseminating the good practices in the most climate vulnerable areas of Bangladesh.